How To Deal With Family Drama At Your Wedding

What do you do with those people who you may not have wanted at your wedding anyway?

How To Deal With Family Drama At Your Wedding getty

By Amy Hoglund

You’ve been dreaming of this day ever since you were a little girl playing with Barbies. I’m talking about your wedding day! You’ve got it all figured out, except there’s one problem: Your extremely difficult family who forgets that it’s your special day rather than their own.

Seating arrangements, the venue, pictures, who is doing/saying what — there is always something to be said, and family drama doesn't take a vacation. What do you do in this situation when you're dealing with difficult people?


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Tina B. Tessina, PhD, a psychotherapist and author of Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting about the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, puts it simply: “If you’re grown up enough to get married, you’re grown up enough to take charge and begin to handle your parents differently.”


It seems simple enough, but many people out there can understand how it’s much easier said than done.

If you grew up in a broken home, sometimes having your mother and father in the same room would be like WWII.

“Identify family members or friends who might be problems, so you can diffuse them beforehand," Tessina suggests. "If your parents are fighting, and you want them both at the wedding, give them a choice: 'If you promise not to fight around me or the wedding, I’d love to have you be part of it. But if you create problems, you’ll have to drop out.' Then stick to it.” She adds, “Arrange beforehand to have the offending parent or parents ejected by security staff or family members if they don’t behave.”

I had someone close to me go through this situation; their family members were so stubborn that they didn’t want to participate in a full family photo. What do you do if you’re stuck in the same boat or close to it?


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“This is your wedding. Don’t allow family members to be difficult," Tessina tells us. "Families are supposed to support you, not make things more difficult, so tell them beforehand that they’re expected to dress appropriately, be in the photos they’re asked to be in, and generally behave well. Be willing to let go of any family members, including parents, who show signs of unreliability or who are uncooperative. ”

How can you reduce the stress of planning your wedding day?

“Unrealistic expectations are a pitfall, and the biggest problems are money differences, family drama, and guest problems. To reduce the stress of a wedding, discuss beforehand with your spouse what you do and do not want,” Tessina advises.


After you discuss this with your future spouse, you can tackle the family issues. 

“Once you are clear with each other, then discuss with other family members who may be involved, especially if they are covering the costs. Have this discussion before making any decisions about how the wedding will look, where it will be, and who will be there.

You have a lot of options, so don’t let other people’s expectations add to the expense, the complications, and the stress. While you want your wedding to be beautiful and memorable, a simpler event might be more enjoyable than a big, complicated affair. Identify extended family members or friends who might be problems, so you can diffuse them.”


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Amy Hoglund is a writer and author for The Daily Buzz and Emotional Mojo. She writes about career, social media, relationships, and family issues.